St Vincent and the Grenadines has been held up as an example of a small country that has made its presence felt on the world stage.
In a sermon at Marabella Presbyterian Church, Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday morning, Justice Frank Seepersad of the Trinidad and Tobago Supreme Court used St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados as Caribbean countries with much smaller populations than Trinidad and Tobago which have made their presence felt.
According to the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, Seepersad said, “In addition to being the land of fete, TT must become the land which rejects injustice, inhumanity and intolerance.”
Advocating for compassionate leadership, Seepersad said people of the region can lead astutely and with compassion. He pointed to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who leads a population that is one-sixth of TT but is now a respected global voice.
Seepersad also referenced St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves as an exemplar for his capacity to harness compassion and civility.
“He was proactive when attempts were made to steal the elections in Guyana. He refused to attend the Summit of Americas when three regional leaders were excluded.
“He took the lead and facilitated the conversation which occurred on Thursday which resulted in the Declaration of Argyle. Now there is hope that armed conflict has been averted.”
“We (TT) have what it takes to ensure that our presence is felt and must strive to prioritise empathy, equity and equanimity.
“This place we call home should be seen as a country governed by servant leaders who love and defend all citizens and protect our neighbours.
“As citizens, we must harness our compassion for Mother Trinbago. We must no longer tolerate calls for us to shut up and be silent.”
He drew a link between the Christmas story and the developing saga between Guyana and Venezuela to speak about compassionate leadership.
Referring to the sequence of events leading to the birth of the Christ child, he said although Joseph, under Jewish law, could have disgraced the pregnant Mary, he opted to adhere to God’s instructions and care for her.
He said that a compassionate element where people were their brother’s keeper is desperately needed as “Our land is now inundated with discord, dysfunction, divisive tones and hate-driven stances.
“God expects us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.
“Compassionate leaders build bridges. They do not burn them down, they unite and do not divide. They listen to opposing views and disagree respectfully. They invite dialogue and are receptive to collaborative engagements in the best interest of the country. They prioritise self-respect for both country and its citizens.”
In TT, Seepersad said, “We have to stop attacking each other, and we need to actively utilise our time, talent, creativity and resources to proactively transform our socio-economic conditions and confront our myriad of problems.
“We can no longer abdicate the sole responsibility of effecting change to our leaders. We need to understand that change needs to start with us.
“‘Us against them’ must be replaced by ‘we’ and our selfish and self-centred positions need to be altered as we embrace our collective responsibility to build the nation we deserve.” (Trinidad Newsday)